Pseudonymization – What ist it really?
An application example with vacation flair
Summer is coming to an end and many a person is thinking about how they can soon soak up some sun again in autumn or winter. A quick visit to the travel agency and you’re ready to go. But not for the travel agency – because who thinks about dates when there are palm trees and sunshine? A customer usually less so, but the travel agency now has some formalities and work processes ahead of it. After all, some data comes together when you have to organize a trip and settle the commission with the travel provider.
Data as the basis for business processes
For many companies, data is now the crucial basis for business processes. And it is often no longer enough to make the data accessible only within the company. It often has to be exchanged with other companies as well. Because data can be many things: private, anonymous, public, business purpose or even trade secret. However, they are never static and unchangeable. They are a reflection of our world and, accordingly, just as changeable. In order to work with them, they must also be exchanged and queried.
The exchange of data as a security risk
For our travel agency, for example, where we have just booked a room with a sea view in the Maldives, this means that it has to pass on our data to the tour operator. And that’s not the only data exchange. The tour operator, in turn, passes on its own customers who have booked a trip via its website to the travel agency for support. And thus also their data. In addition to other processes, there is also the question of billing. Who won which customer? Who is entitled to what share of the commission? Was it a regular customer or a new customer? To clarify these questions, the business partners would have to regularly exchange their entire database. Of course, both companies would like to avoid this – because the database is a crucial business asset for most companies.
Exchanging pseudonymous data securely and anonymously
So how can data be exchanged without making the entire database accessible to external companies? The Stuttgart-based software company TOLERANT has found an ideal solution for this and similar questions: With their software TOLERANT Match Pseudonymization, companies can anonymize data and then match it in an error-tolerant manner.
The travel provider and the travel agency thus now anonymize the data before the exchange and only then pass it on. During data matching, the anonymized customer data from both parties must match – only then can the information be uncovered and used for commission settlement. And here, too, the TOLERANT software provides an ingenious aid: If personal characteristics – e.g. name, address, telephone number – are replaced by pseudonyms, similar data records will no longer be recognized with today’s standard procedures, even if there are minor discrepancies. TOLERANT’s fuzzy search also works on completely pseudonymized data. You will then find e.g. Stefan Mayer, Braunbärweg 12 ~ Maier Stephan, Braubnärweg 12. All other customer data remains anonymous and the business secret is preserved.